Monday, April 02, 2012

Instead Of Asking Agencies to Lower Costs, Why Not Raise Expectations?

According to the ANA, 52% of marketers will ask their agencies to lower their internal costs. In other words, to become more cost-efficient.

But rather than lowering their costs, what if agencies asked their clients to raise their expectations?

What if agencies went to their clients and said, from now on, failure will no longer be lucrative in regards to our work? If the ads we create don’t perform, we don’t make a profit.

How many marketers do you think would say “yes” to something like that?

I don’t think that many, actually.

Because as attractive as it sounds on the surface, advertisers will think there’s a trick. “Why should failure no longer be lucrative?” they’ll ask.

And the next question would be, “How do you define failure?”

That’s a damn good question, isn’t?

And therein lies the rub. You see, because marketers have a difficult time defining failure or success, they keep asking agencies to cut here and cut there.

And ever so slowly, creativity dies of a thousand cuts.

So instead of dying slowly, let’s let creativity die of it’s own accord.

If what the agency creates doesn’t inspire, motivate or intrigue people into watching or participating, then yes, the agency doesn’t make a profit.

What would be the result?

Better work.

More sales.

And the end of 52% of marketers asking agencies to lower their internal costs.

1 comment:

  1. fjmoricca12:02 PM

    This is a nice sentiment. Having just had a client question the value of our senior management, referring to us as "overhead", makes this post timely.

    As someone who is on the front lines dealing with sourcing, procurement and clients asking for more this idyllic scenario is as intoxicating as having the winning $600 million lottery ticket. The reality however is very different. The agency and it's work is not alone in the job of inspiring, motivating and intriguing people. Nor does doing all that necessarily result in more sales. Pile on top the fact that many clients still cannot or will not define any type of measurement for success or strong business objective for what they ask of their agencies and the recipe for continued commoditization of what we do is set.

    Agencies need to have courageous conversations with their clients about experimenting with various creative executions and campaign and be willing to have "disposable creative" - creative that serves a specific purpose for a specific audience for a specific time and then gets tossed. Quickly. Clients have to be willing to provide more data to help agencies create this type of work and let death come swiftly to that which is not moving the needle. There is great risk for both the client and the agency in this type of relationship. And for clients, it's much easier to deliver "cost cutting measures and savings" than to stand up and be courageous
    in experimentation.

    Agencies play their part in this ugly dance as well, willing to make cuts and look to "make it up later". The later almost always never comes.